With Jameis Winston being the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new franchise quarterback, the Bucs took to the podium to address the media about their latest addition. General manager Jason Licht gushed about Winston to open his press conference, using words such as "clutch," "it-factor", "leader" and a slew of other positives. Similarly, Lovie Smith said he was "excited"
To reassure those who doubt Winston's character after a series of minor off-field incidents and a rape accusation for which no criminal charges were filed, Licht repeatedly said that they wouldn't have drafted Winston if they weren't confident in his character.
"If he wasn't a good guy, we wouldn't have picked him," Jason Licht said. "Not only are we comfortable with his character, we're confident in his character. We think his character will be an asset in the building."
"He raises the bar of all the players around him. Guys start talking football with him, and they just want to run out on the sandlot and start having seven-on-seven practice. Every player I've talked to says that he's the best leader they've ever played with, and that speaks volumes."
Lovie Smith said similar things about Winston's character.
"He's made some mistakes that people make from time to time when you're young. Definitely don't think there's a pattern, once you get to know him. I just really believe in him. I trust my instincts on people."
While Winston will have to deal with a civil suit as a result of the aforementioned rape accusation, Licht didn't think it would be a distraction and said that they expected the suit throughout the process.
One curious note: Licht compared today to his wedding day, echoing Raheem Morris' comments from 2009, when the Bucs drafted Josh Freeman. Let's hope this wedding has a better ending.